FOUR years ago, incumbent councillor James Halden won by just 35 votes. It was another ward that UKIP nearly took but not quite.
In the intervening four years, UKIP have declined and Cllr Halden has flourished in local politics. He is now the Portfolio Holder for Health and Education. Of all the Conservative Cabinet members he is the one that comes across as most committed to the causes.
From integrated health hubs to Grammar schools, he is clearly a conviction Conservative and not merely a fellow traveller. His manner has a lot to be desired but that is his call. James, next time you say “My officers” in a council meeting, have a look at their body language.
Ten years ago or so, Labour had councillors in this ward but they do not look like breakign through here any time soon. It is interesting ot see that community minded Gary Byrne has joined the Thurrock Independents. If he can get a few hundred votes, this ward, more than any other may show that there is a future in TIP.
Peter Prendegrast continues to plough his furrow for UKIP. Again, Peter has gone close in previous years but again, he may still pick up a couple of hundred.
YT Prediction: Cons Hold
Gary Byrne (Thurrock Independents)
Daniel Chukwu (Labour Party)
James Halden (Conservative Party)
Peter Prendegast (Ukip)